Monday, December 31, 2007

A Day at the Louvre

Today was a first for us....we actually went to the Louvre. It was very impressive and overwhelming. We had all picked our "must sees" and decided to just hit those hot spots and go from there. It took us several hours just to hit the "must sees". Here's a few highlights from the day. After the Louvre, it was out for a quick lunch then Regina and I did some shopping...we are both bringing home a few Parisian cuties (shirts, not men).

Venus de Milo

In the sculpture garden

Dick admiring Athena

The ceiling in the Italian rooms

Yes, the very famous Mona Lisa...this is as close as I could get to take a picture and since she is under glass and heavily guarded, I'm lucky to have gotten this close. Still....very impressive to see in person. It is, after all, the Mona Lisa!!!

Winged Victory - probably one of my favorites seen today!

The pyramid from inside....another beautiful day in Paris.

Regina & Jason near Poseidon

This is just a very small portion of a beautiful painting by Murillo....I just loved the puppy with the winged bebe!!
Stay tuned tomorrow for any NY Eve antics!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just another weekend in Paris!

Before I go on about Paris, here's a couple of non French related things. This is my awesome nephew, Cory, the Marine stationed right now in Iraq. This picture makes me laugh because I remember the day he was born and to see him looking so "strong like a bull" cracks me up. He's an awesome guy and I just wanted to say how proud I am of him. This was his first Christmas away from family and I'm sure it wasn't you bud!!!

And I can't believe it, but Kimi, our new puppy is already 6 weeks she is, looking like a little stuffed toy:
We've been here over a week now and time just seems to be flying. It's hard to blog when you're going from sun up to sundown!!! It's 9:30 on Sunday, 12/30, we were out until 3:00 this morning and slept in until Noon!!!! The weather cleared up yesterday, it's warmer and we've had sun and my cold is almost completely gone. Here's a few pics to recap the last two days.
Me, Jason & Regina in Montmartre

Us on the Louvre grounds

Jason & Regina at Louvre

A little "magic" at the Louvre

Setting up the shot:

And to close for tonight, a little Saturday night action at the Taverne de Neslie!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Too busy to blog

Sorry for not posting yesterday. It was an incredibly busy day. Dick and I actually set our alarm and took the train out to the airport to meet Jason & Regina. They had a good flight and were ready to hit the ground running. Here Iam with the two of them in front of their awesome apartment on the Rue Rivoli, right across the Hotel de Ville (city hall).

For all of you out there who know Dick...the day was a march across Paris. Jason & Regina took an hour to freshen up and unpack then we hit the road. Down through Les Halles, down the Rue St. Honore...all the way up to Place de la Concorde, over to the Place Vendome (see below). This is where the Ritz is located...which is where Princess Diana was last seen alive. It is an awesome Place with high end jewelry stores. Of course, Regina and I gawked at bling while Jason & Dick marveled over the cars. Jason is definitely enthralled with the little cars here in Paris. At about $9.00/'s no wonder they all drive Smart Cars...yes, you heard right....$9.00/gallon!!!!!

We were up early this morning, making our way over to the Eiffel was another cold, foggy day but I did get some decent pics. After the Eiffel Tower trip, we stopped for lunch that lasted almost 3 hours. I am still feeling horrible from my cold so it was nice just to stop and relax. Sorry I don't have more pics but between this cold and the weather, it's been hard to get some good pics.

Here's the Eiffel Tower through the glass of the Peace Towers. These glass towers have "Peace" written on them in hundreds of languages.

And last, but not least, we went on a Seine dinner cruise tonight.....the food was good and the scenery was absolutely beautiful. I love Paris all the time but I think it is just spectacular at night. Unfortunately I'm not a good enough photographer to take great night pictures. But I'll leave you with this last pic of the Eiffel Tower which lights up like a giant sparkler on the hour for ten minutes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Day 5: Fog and a Cold

Here I am on the bridge that goes from the right bank to the Ile de la can see the spire of Notre Dame in the background. Sorry to say I don't have much to report today. It was a very gray, kind of windy, kind of rainy day....and I caught a cold yesterday...wandering around in the cold, wet Christmas air. I was hacking all day and we spent most of the day/night looking for restaurants that had non smoking sections. We are having a fabulous time, though, relaxing....we took the metro out to the Gare de Lyon to check le Train Bleu...a restaurant we're considering...then went back out to the Arc de Triomphe...strolled down the Champs Elysee then took in the train exhibit at the Grand Palais. The Palais was built in 1900 for the Paris Exposition and is an amazing art nouveau steel and glass building. In the morning, we are heading out to the airport to meet Jason & Regina, our friends arriving from South Carolina. This is their first trip to Paris so it should be very interesting and FUN!!!! Bonsoir and Au Revoir!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Here's Bibendum & Gianni at lunch on Christmas Day....we didn't even get up until 12:00 noon.... we exhausted ourselves on Monday and it felt so good to sleep in. There's not much going on here Christmas Day anyway so it was a good day to rest. We stumbled around town for most of the afternoon...went out near Montparnasse then I got cold so we came back to apartment for warmer clothes. We had a chance to talk to family which was nice. I also got to talk to Cory on his MySpace. It's fun right now because we're on similar time zones. Please pray for all our guys and girls over there who couldn't be with their families for Christmas.

Here's Dick @ the Pantheon...these were great trees in front..not sure how they did it but basically they stick these trees into holes already in the cobblestones.... Joyeux Noel! This was taken before the freeze set in...tee hee. It started out warm and sunny then turned breezy and cold. We had a great Christmas dinner tonight at a fun little restaurant we have found on the Ile St. Louis. This is our 3rd time there....we had visited 3 years ago then went back on Sunday night and again for Christmas dinner. The owner/chef is a really fun lady who's trying to learn English so we struggle through communications but it's fun for all of us.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Day 3 and More Blue Skies

We are still suffering from a little jet lag. We can't seem to get out of bed before 9:00 a.m. and we're lucky if we make it out of the apartment before 11:00. Today we had breakfast and cafe at Cafe Esmerelda, a little cafe that overlooks Notre Dame. It was cold the high 20s when we left the apartment and windy. It warmed up a little bit but it stayed cold most of the day. We took the metro over to Montmartre...then managed to walk our legs off. We may have started late but we didn't stop walking until almost 6:00 p.m. We only stopped for lunch (soup l'ognion for Dick and moules & frites for me) at La Boheme...a restaurant we like that's near Sacre Couer. The rest of the day was spent browsing and shopping in Montmartre. This is not my favorite part of town but it was a fun day. Here's a pic of me at the grocer that was featured in the movie Amelie.

This was taken about 1:00 was a gorgeous blue day up at Sacre Couer but hazy over the city so we had no view from here. Isn't it just beautiful??

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Day 2 in Paris

The last two days have been beautiful here...sunny with fairly cold temps. Luckily, we came prepared with plenty of winter clothes. Proof positive here in Paris at the Hotel de Ville that even if you don't have snow, there's plenty of snow sports to participate in. These kids were having a great time on this sledding "hill".

Today was a very late start. Neither of us slept well (thanks to that mid-afternoon nap yesterday) so it was late morning. We didn't even get out of bed until 9:00 a.m. then we had some organizing to do since yesterday we were in no condition to organize anything. Our shower drain was clogged and we almost had a water emergency....I am so thankful Dick is such a handyman. By the time we actually left our apartment it was 11:30 a.m. We have the Paris City Walk cards and they are fun to use. Pick an area of town, pull a couple of cards with explanations and maps and you are on your way. We spent most of the day in the Marais which is filled with fun shops and restaurants. We decided, while walking, that we have been here so often that we don't take as many pictures as we used I apologize for the lack of photos here on the blog. Here's a recap of today.

Here we are at the Hotel de Sens, the oldest medieval mansion in the city. It's supposed to have a cannonball lodged in the wall of the front but we couldn't locate it so we think it's just a joke on kidding, we spent 15 minutes searching the front wall for the cannonball...oh well...c'est la vie.
More walking thru the Marais where I found this job posted. I thought the name of the store was appropriate for those of us who want to live in Paris!!! Only problem is that I am definitely NOT bilingual. And from the looks I'm getting from Parisians, I don't think I know the 10 words I thought I knew!!!

Here's our friends, Bibendum from Paris and Gianni from Florence, enjoying a very large glass of Medoc vin rouge at the Cafe Mabillon on the Blvd. St. Germain. Of course, Dick and I joined them in that glass of wine.

The Cafe Mabillon was a very interesting people watching experience. Here's a few observations: it's obviously a popular place as several luxury vehicles drove up with security/drivers. That said, the toilettes left something to be desired! While sitting outside a group of rollerbladers came by....complete with "staff" and police escort. Possibly some charity event???

So I leave you with a dusk shot of Notre Dame. Isn't she beautiful? We could have stayed in an apartment anywhere in the city but we really enjoy being near enough to hear the bells both morning and evening. Au revoir and bonne nuit.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

We're in Paris

What a busy day it's been! I was awakened at 5:30 a.m. by Dick on the airplane. I had a pretty good night's sleep...considering. I had taken an ambien so I slept fairly hard although it was a very bumpy ride over the Atlantic. We arrived early...just short of 6:30 a.m. so, because we couldn't check into our apartment until 9:00, we hung out at the airport...had some nice, strong Frence cafe!! Then, deciding that we couldn't spend another two hours at the airport, took a cab into town. We had a great cabdriver who was from Marseilles and was very interested in talking about the United States and about his life in made the ride into the city very easy. We were still early so we hung out at the corner cafe until our apartment rental agency opened. Here's Dick hanging out at the didn't open until almost 8:30 so we were standing here on this Paris corner with a ton of bags until they finally opened. It was very cold here today...about 24 fahrenheit when we arrived and although it was sunny, it didn't warm up much until later this evening.

We checked into our apartment, the view is great...just like the picture...2nd floor (1st floor to Europeans) with a lift...thank goodness since Dick packed his entire wardrobe. We unpacked and hit the town running. We didn't do much other than wander around....over to Rue St. Honore...down to the Opera...had lunch at Cafe of my faves because it's one of the few places I can have a "big" salade.

Here we are about to embark on our sunny adventure. Isn't it a beautiful day?

We decided at that point that we really needed a nap...we were both feeling a little exhausted so back to the apartment for a nappie. 2 1/2 hours later and we were up and at it again. We walked over to the Hotel De Ville to watch the skaters then hopped on a metro to the Champs Elysee. No matter how many times we come to Paris and how many neighborhoods we visit, there is nothing in the world that I enjoy more than winter on the Champs Elysee. I can't even begin to take pictures that do justice to the beautiful sight of that gorgeous boulevard, lit up for the holidays...filled with locals and tourists....eating, drinking, shopping, enjoying life to its fullest. Here I am at the Renault dealer on the Champs Elysee....enjoying some holiday time with Pere Noel.

After a full evening on the Champs Elysee, we decided on dinner near our apartment. A nice little restaurant where Dick had steak with onions and I had a yummy stuffed cabbage. Now I'll leave you with a quick picture of the nicely lit Champs Elysee.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Today's the Day

Today is both the shortest day of the year and the longest day for us. We were both up at 4:30 a.m. after a good night's sleep. Our flight from Denver was easy and on time. We are sitting at the Red Carpet Club, enjoying a drink and killing time until our Paris flight. The weather is cool and overcast here and there's no reason to expect any delays out of here. The next time I blog we'll be in Paris!!!! Here's a couple of airport pics to whet your appetite!!

Here's D, hanging in DIA.

And here I am, the exciting life of a blogger!! Note our little Bibendum and our Italian troll (for Suze):

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One More Day

This totally sums up how I am feeling today!! Thanks to Eric at for sharing this today. I have miscellaneous errands to run...nails, lunch with friends then Dick and I are opening our gifts tonight so it's Christmas for us!!! Maybe a little champagne too to get us in the mood.

On another note, can you believe that it's almost 2008? I feel like the years are just flying by. We have a great life and this is a good day for me to thank all of our friends...old & new, far & close...who continue to enrich our lives in so many ways - neighbor friends, travel friends, running friends, shopping and eating friends, blog friends - we are so thankful to have you all in our lives. And a big thank you to our families....we miss all of you!!

A special thank you to my sister, my very best friend and confidante who I miss every single day that we are apart.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

1 1/2 days and a wake up!!

It's almost here!!!! Just a day and a half and we're on our way. We're expecting snow here on Friday but the prediction (right now) is for afternoon/evening snow. If all goes afternoon we will be in Washington, DC, then on our way to Paris!! Here's a preview for you. We have rented an apartment on Rue's a block away from Notre Dame and this is an actual picture of our view! And now the back of Notre Dame is lit as well as the front so when we will be able to see it at night also. How romantic for have the bells awaken us. Stay tuned for "live" broadcasts next week.

Monday, December 17, 2007

3.5 days and Banana Crunch Muffins

Since we are now only 3.5 days and a wake up away from Paris, I thought I'd share another archive photo. This pic was taken New Year's Day 2005 with our friends R & S from Arlington, Virginia. They have been our travelling companions on multiple trip to Paris and are awesome. This is the thumb statue at La Defense!! Isn't it awesome?

This morning I spent at a great holiday breakfast hosted by my running, shopping, all around best friend, Sally. I made these delish banana crunch muffins that I found on the Barefoot Contessa area of the food network website. I just love everything Ina makes. Here's the recipe:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra-large eggs 3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup small-diced walnuts
1 cup granola
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
**dried banana chips, granola, or shredded coconut, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't overmix. Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. Top each muffin with dried banana chips, granola, or coconut, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve warm.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Less than a week to Paris and new puppy

So, I guess I'll have to think about starting to pack tomorrow. We're now down to less than a week and it will be here quickly. We went down to Colorado Springs today to see our new puppy, Kimi, for the first day. Just like with Harley, it was love at first sight. She was so sweet and so beautiful and so innocent. I've been feeling so sad over the loss of Harley that I had forgotten just how much my heart could be filled again. It really made my day and she was all I could think of. She'll be ready to come home around January 17 and it can't come quickly enough. We stopped at PetSmart on the way home and got her a new, smaller crate and some toys...and her new baby collar!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

One Week to Paris and More Exciting Puppy News

Today is Friday and that means one week from today we should be on a flight from DC to Paris!!! Let's just hope that the weather gods stay in our favor!!

The most exciting news is that we finally have a puppy. We got so lucky and a breeder in Colorado Springs has a 3 1/2 week old little girl that she called me about. The timing is perfect. We have already named her "Kimi" after the Formula 1 2007 Champion....Kimi Raikkonen. She has one blue eye so the person who had originally reserved her didn't want her because she can't be shown. I am excited beyond belief. We are driving to C Springs tomorrow afternoon to see her in person so I'll have more pics. She'll be coming home to us mid-January. Having a breeder in Colorado also makes it so much easier to bring her home...rather than trying to fly a puppy across the U.S.

Here she is...our little Kimi:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

8 days & Blue Skies

Good afternoon! Well, the snow is done for now even though we are expecting more on Friday. Today is a typical Colorado winter day....look at those beautiful blue skies! And it's been so cold that the aspen trees still have snow on them.

The excitement is building. Only 8 days to Paris and only 5 days to our momma dog's ultrasound so we'll know definitely if we're getting a puppy or not. The suspense is killing me. Even though mother nature can always have a hand, at least we'll know on Monday if there's even a chance for us.
I'm home today "nesting". Cleaning house, washing clothes and making both soup and chili to put up for the next week while Dick is home. The house smells all yummy and homey.

Here's a fun pic from this week. That's NC Pam, Sally and me with Santa Claus. We went to the Pearl Street winter festival in Denver on Friday night. What an enchanting little street...there was hot chocolate and cider, roasted chestnuts and plenty of cookies and other goodies to go around. Santa was there taking pictures with the kids and we just couldn't resist a pic of our own.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

9 Days and More Snow

Well, more snow overnight and this morning! This better stop before next Friday. I don't want any Mother Nature issues to get in the way of our trip. It does look like a winter wonderland here right now though!

I can't wait to be blogging from Paris. The 10 day forecast for Paris is showing in the high 30s and sunny. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Speaking of forecasts, this is where my friends K & A are going for their Christmas vacation!!! I don't think it's 38 degrees there!!!

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